KFWB-Los Angeles – B. Mitchel Reed – Battle Of The Bands Semi-Finals – July 1966 –
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Ever since you saw The Beatles on Ed Sullivan you wanted to be in a rock n’ roll band. You hounded your parents for months to get a guitar – you hounded them for more months to get lessons. You ate, slept, went to school and practiced – every hour you weren’t doing something you had to do, you practiced. You started hanging around Sol Betnun’s Music on Larchmont on the weekends, checking out wah-wah pedals and trying out the new Rickenbackers. And when you started to play whole songs you started standing in front of the hallway mirror, practicing your moves. And you answered ads plastered on the bulletin board at Wallich’s and Betnun’s.
And you met two guys in your Math class who started growing their hair and you found out one played drums and the other played bass and they were trying to put a band together. You all knew Gloria by heart. The drummer had a garage and parents who let you practice on the weekends. The drummer also had a sister who was a year younger than everybody, who could sing and was actually in the school chorus. She also wanted to be in the band. The Bass player kept saying “No chicks in rock n’ roll bands!” but he was out-voted. The drummer reminded everybody it was his sister and his parent’s garage and . . .. she was a shoe-in. But you couldn’t play Gloria any more. You had to start writing your own songs.
After a month of trying, you wrote your first song. It was a little like The Byrds met The Shirelles and everybody seemed to like it; at least everything rhymed and it had a good beat. You could never settle on a name for your band, but it kept changing every few weeks. You saved your money and went to Sy Devore to get your outfits – the singer had different taste than everybody else – she liked Sandi Shaw and sang barefoot. You started playing school dances, calling yourself The Junior Mints and eventually you hit the big time – you got up enough nerve to sign up for Battle Of The Bands. You and about a thousand other guys from all over Southern California. You Auditioned at P.O.P. – the outdoor amphitheater in front of six guys wearing sharkskin suits and no expressions. You finished your song – they said thank you – and you left.
And after a few weeks you heard they were announcing the semi-finalists on KFWB with B. Mitchel Reed – and you waited – and waited – and waited.
And this is what you heard, if you were in one of those hopeful bands who auditioned, hoped and prayed and watched your life flash in front of you as you plugged in your guitar, switched on your amp and suddenly forgot the words to the song you helped write.
B.Mitchel Reed and KFWB for an early July in 1966.
(This is a work of fiction, totally made up and bearing no intentional resemblance to anyone, living or dead, who might get the wrong idea that it’s about me or them or anyone).